Greetings fellow Methuselahs
I have been travelling. I seldom do so, because it tend to involve complicated arrangements with night time flights in a lead casket guarded by armed ghouls. But sometimes its needed. This time I was challenged by some young, cocky Methuselahs and the duelling grounds had to be Paris, France. I haven´t been there since the late 18th century, when some of my less talented minions happened to involve themselves in some very unnecessary events. Harsh words were said. Blood flowed on the streets. Heads were severed in complicated ways. It was a mess and I barely escaped with my unlife intact! Just like my recent visit…
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP 2019 SUMMARY
The EC of the 25th year of VTES existence was celebrated in great style in Paris, France. It wasn´t only a weekend, but a whole week filled with tournaments all over the city. The main events were played at Paris Gaming School in Montreuil, a most appropriate place, because many gaming lessons were taught!
Below follows a brief summary of winners with some pictures - thanks all that contributed with photos, especially Marko Saari who shot the beautiful black and white ones - click to enlarge!
Monday constructed (25 players): Randal Rudstam (SWE, #4 in the image above), playing Tzimisce Sasha Vykos vote-toolbox (Card cycling is strong!)
Tuesday constructed (32 players): Maxime Socroun (FRA, #2 above), playing Nosferatu Cock Robin toolbox, after a very exciting heads up versus Samedi rush.
Wednesday sealed deck (10 players): Vincent Ripoll (FRA, #4 above), playing Toreador antitribu “Libertine Ball” breed-boon (without the boons!)
Wednesday constructed (12 players): Mathias Olsson (SWE) playing Black Hand stealth-bleed.
Thursday constructed (27 players): Aapo Järvelin (FIN, #3 above), playing “Girls will find” MMPA stealth-bleed.
Friday European limited championship (35 players drafted Jyhad/3rd Edition/Heirs to the Blood): Christophe Baltazar (FRA).
Friday constructed (65 players): Łukasz Ho Thanh (POL, #4 above), playing Goratrix wall. A very political final, but with no political decks!
Saturday Grand Prix final: Orian Gissler (FRA, #3 above): ANI+POT anarch Enkidu rush.
Sunday Brighter Future constructed (66 players): Tomas Wallmur (SWE, #3 above), playing Harbingers Emerald Legionnaires.
And so, the actual EC tournaments:
EC Day 1 had 131 players. Standings after three preliminary rounds were these:
1. Patrick Benoît (FRA) 2 gw 9.5 vp
2. Erik Mossberg (SWE) 2 gw 8.0 vp
3. Jorge Delgado (SPA) 2 gw 8.0 vp
4. Mathias Skubich (FRA) 2 gw 8.0 vp
5. Benoît Moyen (FRA) 2 gw 7.5 vp
Congratulations Jorge Delgado, winner of the largest tournament of the year! He got 1.5 vp, and so did Benoît. Erik got 0.5. Jorges deck:
Deck Name: Girls will find... Inner Circles
Crypt (12 cards)
1x Adana de Sforza 11 aus CEL OBF POT PRE PRO Brujah:4
4x Aksinya Daclau 9 cel tha ANI FOR PRE PRO !Gangrel:4
4x Cybele 10 ANI DAI OBF PRE SER THA Baali:4
1x Lucian, the Perfect 11 ANI AUS DOM OBF POT PRE Guruhi:4
1x Lutz von Hohenzollern 11 pot AUS DEM OBF PRE Malkavian:4
1x Rafael de Corazon 11 AUS CEL DOM OBF PRE Toreador:4
Library (78 cards)
15x Ashur Tablets
1x Coven, The
2x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Giant's Blood
2x Golconda: Inner Peace
1x Information Highway
1x Jake Washington (Hunter)
1x Metro Underground
1x Monastery of Shadows
2x Parthenon, The
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
2x Wider View
7x Zillah's Valley
1x Scourge of the Enochians
2x Unleash Hell's Fury
Action Modifier (14)
3x Aire of Elation
2x Elder Impersonation
1x Enkil Cog
2x Faceless Night
4x Into Thin Air
2x Spying Mission
2x Swallowed by the Night
1x Guard Dogs
2x Lost in Translation
1x Rat's Warning
Qualified to play EC Day 2 were the 40 best players from Day 1, plus the finalists from Friday's constructed tournament and each of the season's European Grand Prix champions. After the three preliminary rounds, standings were these:
1. Otso Saariluoma (FIN) 2 gw 8.5 vp
2. Sélim Ammouche (FRA) 2 gw 8.0 vp
3. Tommi Hakomaa (FIN) 1 gw 6.5 vp
4. Orian Gissler (FRA) 1 gw 6.0 vp
5. Radoslaw Wroblewski (POL) 1 gw 5.0 vp
Congratulations Otso Saariluoma, European champion 2019! Otso was the only finalist who managed to oust his prey, so he ended up with 1.5 victory points (Tommi, Orian and Radoslaw got 0.5 vp). He also won the championship in 2011. Please read the interview with him below. The deck:
Deck Name: Finnish Politics
Crypt (12 cards)
4x Anarch Convert 1 Caitiff:ANY
1x Andre LeRoux 3 aus Toreador:5
1x Black Annis 9 ani pro OBF POT !Nosferatu:4
1x Enkidu, The Noah 11 for ANI CEL OBF POT PRO !Gangrel:4
3x Nana Buruku 8 ANI POT PRE Guruhi:4
2x Nangila Were 9 obf ser ANI POT PRE Guruhi:4
Library (65 cards)
4x Anarch Revolt
1x Archon Investigation
6x Ashur Tablets
1x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Giant's Blood
1x Information Highway
1x Mbare Market, Harare
2x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Powerbase: Luanda
1x Powerbase: Montreal
1x Wider View
3x Deep Song
1x Mr. Winthrop
1x Canine Horde
5x Carrion Crows
1x Glancing Blow
5x Immortal Grapple
1x Mighty Grapple
1x Stunt Cycle
4x Taste of Vitae
2x Thrown Sewer Lid
4x Torn Signpost
1x Undead Strength
1x Cats' Guidance
1x Delaying Tactics
2x On the Qui Vive
2x Sense the Savage Way
The full list of participants and results can be found the EC website (EC Day 1 and EC Day 2). All decklists will eventually be uploaded there (in the rightmost column).
Thanks to all players! Thanks to the whole French organisation crew – great work! Also thanks to our sponsors and friends Ultra Pro, Drivethrucards.com, La Paris Gaming School, Trolls2Jeux, Le Repaire Du Dragon, Les Caves Alliées, Black Chantry Productions, Asmodee, Uchronies Games and Games Café. Hope to see all attendants again at EC 2020 in Helsinki, and especially welcome all you that could not be in Paris. Finland awaits you with many easy ousts!
INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH: OTSO SAARILUOMA, EUROPEAN CHAMPION 2019
Congratulations Otso - well played! One more final table for you with ANI+POT MMPA rush (see decklist above), and this time you are the champion, like in Warsaw 2011. Did you play the same deck on Day 1 too?
- No, on Day 1 I played a bleed variant of Girls (i.e. Cybele + Aksinya multiple master phase shenanigans). Preparing for the EC that was the only deck I was really happy with and had thought I might play it on both day 1 and 2. On Day 1 I swept one 4-player table and timed out two more for 0,5 VPs each and a grand total of 1GW 5 VPs for the day. I was relieved getting to Day 2, but not too happy with the performance, so for day 2 I chose to go back to my last year’s deck with Nana + Nangila master heavy beatdown.
How were your preliminary rounds Day 2?
- In this year’s preliminary rounds the tables were collapsing really nicely. There was at least one other heavy combat deck in each table (round 1 Otto’s Anson guns, round 2 Orian’s Nana animalism, round 3 Darby’s Imbued chainsaw massacre) which sped up the tables considerably. I also managed to shut down my initial preys really fast with forward rushing and torporizing their first vampires (apart from round 2, when Janne’s Stanislava was Archoned before I even had a turn to act) and Anarch Revolts did the ousting for me. In all of the rounds I got to the heads up with the other heavy combat deck. Round 1 and round 3 were really close calls with only a few seconds on the clock determining the outcome one way or another. In round 2 I made a deal with Orian as my predator for a 3-2-split, getting a game win of the deal and the game ended in about one hour. The games were super fun and intense and I was really happy with the result.
Why do you think this deck was a good pick for this Day 2 tournament?
- I’ve played a variant of this deck three times on EC Day 2 and gotten great results each time. I’ve obviously had some luck with the tables, but I feel this deck is at its best in the super-grindy meta of EC Day 2 as it couldn’t care less for most block decks (nice Goratrix you have there!), and goes one-up against most combat decks I’ve seen there, like mono-animalism, mono-potence or Rock Cats, even celerity guns. This deck has a hard time in a fast, pool-damage oriented meta or in combat against aggravated damage. Also, the real reason I initially hesitated playing this deck on Day 2 this year was the influx of Emerald Legionnaires. The thought of recurring allies with FBI and a strength of 2 didn’t really sound inviting. I fully expected to see at least one Legionnaires deck in the finals. However, as I didn’t want to play Liquidation + Ashur Tablets for two days straight, I ended up sleeving up this combat monster for the fun of it.
You were top seed before the final, with 2 game wins and 8,5 victory points. What were your thoughts when choosing seat? (See table layout in the EC summary above!)
- I wasn’t really sure where Tommi (3rd seed with Nephandi and Tupdogs) would sit in relation to Orian (4th seed with Nana animalism) and Radoslaw (5th seed with !Ventrue grinder), but he made the classic choice of not having DOM on his back instead hunting the stickmen. I fully expected Selim (2nd seed with Obedience-heavy Arika) to sit cross-table from the Tupdogs, but he instead chose to be their predator. I heard after the finals that he might not have known Tommi’s deck, in which case I feel really angry for him. To me, the practice of players choosing their seats in order of their performance is really interesting and often skillful part of a tournament, but the mandatory scouting is just silly – when can we have at least some information from the other players’ decks before choosing the seats? Like 4 random crypt cards from each finalist or whatnot?
All in all, three combat decks in the finals was great for the combat decks, keeping the two dominate decks on a really short leash. As for the other decks, I really liked Selim’s choice with DOM/votes for payload, OBF for delivery and Obedience + Metro Underground for defence – it demonstates understanding of the highly specialized meta that is EC Day 2.
You have played this deck, or rather similar variants, for a very long time. What is your most recent addition and why did you make that change?
- This version of the deck, just like my previous EC winning deck hails to the machinations of the Finnish combat master, Ville Kaijasaari. This list derives from his Finnish Nationals winning deck from 2013. I tested it out quite a bit before last year’s EC, where I played basically the same deck to the finals, and didn’t test at all before this year’s competition. The only change I made from last year was removing one Anarch Revolt for a second Pentex Subversion, after losing the finals because of Vincent getting my two high caps on lockdown with Pentex and Unleash Hell’s Fury. After this EC experience, I’d probably also add one more Immortal Grapple – I was never unhappy to draw one. Weirdly, Ashur Tablets weren’t that big of a deal this year – in all of the four rounds, I believe I completed a total of one set of Ashur Tablets.
Without revealing too many secrets, if you would name one thing that you do, while playing this deck, that makes you succeed, what would that be?
- I don’t think there are any secrets, just experience with the archetype. But at least in this tournament shutting my prey down real hard worked wonders saving a lot of time on the clock. Obviously that might not be the correct line all the time, because your grand prey will obviously have a flying start.
Another thing that an outside observer might not realize watching this deck perform, is how much it is about managing and sculpting your hand, which dictates the rhythm of your actions when playing the deck.
Six winners: Orian (Grand Prix 2019), Randal (Monday constructed), Tomas (Brighter Future),
Łukasz (Friday constructed), Otso (EC 2019 champion) and Christophe (Limited).
What are your general thoughts about the current top level tournament environment, and the future of VTES tournament play?
- Well, with Black Chantry on the wheel the game is really thriving. Our local playgroup is livening up, old metuselahs are joining the Jyhad again and new neonates with unbelievable, admirable enthusiasm for the game are joining the fray. Metuselahs around the globe are also warring over the internet and the results really show – at least some of our local players are improving in leaps and bounds because of Lackey play.
When I attended my first EC in 2010, it was because we had received the news of discontinuation of the game. I wanted to go to EC at least once before the game inevitably fades away. Now, with ten EC attendances on my belt and countless great, fun-to-be-around, heartfelt friends scattered across Europe and even further, I have to say, I could not have been more wrong about the game at that point.
Apart from all the good things, I do also have some criticisms. Besides the mandatory scouting/spy network silliness during tournament play, I also feel that the Tournament Winning Deck Archive is somewhat oppressive on the global meta. TWDA is a great tool to learn the game, find ideas and claim your fifteen minutes of fame. But at the same time the TWDA decks from the last 6 months are represented a lot more in tournaments, which leads to self-perpetuating cycle of Stanislavas and what-nots (no offence, Martin Weinmayer!). I think we’d need also some other method of sharing ideas and decklists from tournaments that would complement TWDA, like sharing all the finalist decklists of tournaments in picture format, deck splayed out, as I heard someone suggest at the EC. There is still a lot of space to explore and experiment in V:tES. With that being said, I’m going back to the drawing board with my Nahum Enosh & Santaleous deck. Thanks for all the congratulations and I hope many of you can come to the EC in Helsinki next year to show us an alternative to our petty Finnish Politics!
Thanks for the interview Otso, and again: Congratulations champ!
GILLES MOLINA IS THE 2019 BELGIAN CHAMPION
This event got a bit lost in VEKN admin labyrinths, but we would of course like to congratulate Gilles Molina for the win! Details on results and the tournament winning deck can be found at the VEKN.net forum.
BLACK CHANTRY SUMMARY: AUGUST 2019
• Design Director Ben Peal was recently interviewed by Bindusara´s Jyhad Diary – recommended reading if you want to learn more about his VTES background and design philosophy.
• VTES celebrated 25 years, which Black Chantry brought attention to with this posting (including future plans), a personal comment from CEO Hugh Angseesing and of course the 25th Anniversary set. Note that the card changes in the set are legal for tournament play on September 15 2019.
• A rare meeting took place in Paris on the EC weekend: All five Black Chantry partners met in the flesh (image above: Ginés, Ben, Vincent, Hugh and Henrik). As they live in five different countries on two continents, this will probably not happen very often!
• Sadly, two card text mistakes had to be acknowledged this month: Murmur of the False Will in 25th Anniversary and Dabbler in Heirs to the Blood bundle 2. Both will be corrected in later printings.
• Round 2 of Fifth Edition playtesting has begun, coordinated by Darby Keeney. Some cards have been switched and some have been changed since round 1. Many thanks to everyone involved for your hard work with testing and writing valuable comments!
• Currently twelve Black Chantry products are available through Drivethrucards.com and other stores:
- Lost Kindred bundle
- Keepers of Tradition Reprint Bundle 1
- Keepers of Tradition Reprint Bundle 2
- Heirs of the Blood Reprint Bundle 1
- Heirs of the Blood Reprint Bundle 2
- Den of Fiends Preconstructed Deck
- Libertine Ball Preconstructed Deck
- Pact with Nephandi Preconstructed Deck
- Parliament of Shadows Preconstructed Deck
- Anthology I bundle
- VTES Card Creator
- 25th Anniversary (Not on Drivethrucards.com)
• Upcoming for September is First Blood, five 55-card preconstructed decks for introductory games of Vampire: The Eternal Struggle.
Do you have opinions or questions for Black Chantry? Start a topic on the VEKN forum, or contact the company by e-mail, Facebook or Twitter.
September 6: Journey to Stockholm: Love Boat II - Baltic Sea, Finland to Sweden
September 7: Swedish championship - Stockholm, Sweden
September 7: September is here - Santiago, Chile
September 7: Pandemonium Games Constructed - Cape Town, South Africa
September 7: Paulistão - São Paulo, Brazil
September 7: Cryptic Hunting Ground 2019, Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain
September 8: VTES XL - Heath, USA
September 14: Black Forest Base: Ascension - Freiburg, Germany
September 14: Round 4 - Pest, Hungary
September 14: Silesia by Night - Gliwice, Poland
September 21: Fall of The Sabbat - Vila Velha, Brazil
September 21: VTES Granada Tournament - Granada, Spain
September 21: Anacronism Algeciras - Algeciras, Andalucía, Spain
September 21: Abomination - New Holland, USA
September 22: Powerbase Florence II - Florence, USA
September 28: Reing of Nergal - Rancagua, Chile
September 28: Catacombs: Zagreb, Croatia
September 28: Manse Politics - Tampere, Etelä-Suomen lääni, Finland
For more information on upcoming events see the V:EKN Event Calendar.
You can contact the V:EKN Inner Circle members using contact forms at V:EKN.net. Also follow the V:EKN Facebook group, the official V:TES Facebook page Vampire: The Eternal Struggle and the official V:EKN Twitter account @VEKN_VTES
"Knowledge is power."